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May 18, 2009

Archive 2006

Filed under: Archive 2006 — admin @ 3:08 pm

Xandros Desktop Professional 4.1 review

There are several “business,” “corporate,” or “professional” desktop operating systems on the market today, all aimed at seeping into large corporations that already use GNU/Linux on servers. It’s a pretty good plan, and most of the operating systems in this arena are pretty good — not perfect, but pretty good. Xandros has had such a product for a while now, and it’s always been near the top of the list in terms of features and quality. The market is now mature and the products are more competitive, though, and the product formerly known as Xandros Business Desktop, while still a good operating system, isn’t keeping up with the industry’s pace. As a standalone operating system it doesn’t go very far, though it may have a much more meaningful impact when combined with Xandros’ other products.

Hacking openSUSE 10.2

Novell’s openSUSE 10.2 is an exciting desktop operating environment that includes or supports nearly every program you need for work and play. But there are those last few programs and issues that make openSUSE just short of perfect. Web browser plugins for some kinds of online content; MP3, Windows Media, and DVD movie playback support; and drivers for Atheros wireless devices and Nvidia and ATI video cards are the chief things holding openSUSE back for some users. This guide will help you remove as many of those barriers as possible.

Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft review

While still far from perfect, Ubuntu 6.10 “Edgy Eft” is both an improvement over the so-called “long-term support” release and a decent operating system in its own right. It’s in a much better place than any other free-of-charge operating system has been before now, but I don’t think it’ll give any commercial operating systems a run for their money.

Cedega 5.2 review

It’s been said many times in many forums, blog posts, mailing lists, and comment sections: GNU/Linux won’t really go far as a desktop operating system unless it can play the same games that Microsoft Windows can. For years, TransGaming has tried to make the dream of running Windows games in GNU/Linux into reality, and to a small extent it has succeeded with its Cedega product (formerly known as WineX). Since development moves so quickly, it doesn’t make sense to review each individual point release, so this review will take a look at the state of Cedega circa version 5.2.7.

Fedora Core 6 review

This is the first Fedora Core review I’ve written, but it’s not because I didn’t want to write one before. I’ve tested every Fedora release since the very first one, and have declined to write about it because it never seemed to work properly and I don’t like writing totally negative reviews. At first I figured that the bugs and problems were just growing pains from the switchover from Red Hat Linux, and then from the move from the 2.4 to the 2.6 kernel, and other various things. There are no more excuses left, so I think it’s time to break the silence about the inferiority of this desktop operating system, now in its sixth release.

OpenBSD 4.0 review

In an era when the next edition of Microsoft Windows is pushed back more than a year, and popular GNU/Linux distributions are almost expected to have their release dates delayed by weeks or months, it’s nice to know that at least one operating system releases on schedule without all kinds of showstopping bugs and problems. OpenBSD 4.0 was released on November 1 with its usual mix of new hardware support and enhanced operating system features. Read on for the full report.

Using OpenBSD 4.0

If you’re a software enthusiast who has never used OpenBSD before, you might enjoy installing it by yourself and figuring it out as you go. If, however, you’re looking for a more practical approach to using OpenBSD as a desktop or server operating system, here’s a quick guide to get you started in this spectacular operating system.

How to install SLED 10 on the ThinkPad T60p

The Lenovo ThinkPad T60p is the first ThinkPad to officially support GNU/Linux. Unfortunately that support is not quite as broad as some would like — you’re more or less forced to install and use SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED 10). The good news is, SLED 10 is a highly usable, stable, and configurable operating system. Officially you’re supposed to buy a support contract from Novell if you need help installing the operating system on a ThinkPad T60p, but if you’d prefer to do it on your own, this guide will walk you through the process.

Mandriva Linux 2007 PowerPack Edition review

Though delayed for a while and later to market than most Mandriva fans would probably prefer, the new Mandriva Linux 2007 PowerPack Edition is finally here, nearly a year after the previous release. 2007 is typical Mandriva through and through: attractively themed in KDE, easy to install without skipping the technical details, a little bug-ridden here and there, and full of new and interesting software technologies. This release does have its own identity, though; not only has the standard theme been redesigned for the first time in several years, but this is the first Mandriva release to include a “legal” DVD movie player.

Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0 review

MandrivaLinux (formerly MandrakeLinux) built its name and reputation on its consumer desktop products, but over the past two years its newer enterprise-grade GNU/Linux operating systems have been gaining momentum in a market traditionally dominated by Red Hat. Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0, released on September 19, is a major step forward not only for Mandriva, but for GUI-based server operating systems in general. It won’t sway any sysadmins who are comfortable with the CLI, but if you don’t have the budget to hire a good GNU/Linux sysadmin, you’ll have a much easier time with Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0 than pretty much any other server operating system.

Versora Progression Desktop 2.0 review

Versora’s Progression Desktop migration tool gets better with every release. Now on version 2.0, the developers have expanded the capabilities of the software and qualified it with many more operating systems. It’s never been easier to transfer your settings from Windows to GNU/Linux.

Gentoo Linux 2006.1 review

In one respect, Gentoo Linux 2006.1 is the same as it’s always been, except with newer software on the installation media. Beginning with version 2006.0, though, a graphical environment was added to the live CD along with an installation program that rarely worked properly. The good news is, the installer works reasonably well in Gentoo 2006.1; the bad news is, it’s still quicker and easier to install by hand via the command line.

Freespire 1.0 review

Linspire Inc. claims that the recently released Freespire is the development version of Linspire, much like Fedora Core is the freely available development version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. During the several days that I used it, I found this to be true in both a good and a bad way. It’s good in the sense that the software that comprises Freespire is a bit more modern, but bad in that it has a few problems that make it unsuitable for a production release.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 review

I’ve tested and/or reviewed every version of this operating system (now on its third name) since the first version, and each time I start out impressed but end up walking away disappointed. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 is not an exception to this tradition. While it may be a decent desktop operating system, I can’t possibly recommend that sysadmins rely on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 in a production environment.

Hacking SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10

Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 is a decent business desktop operating system as-is. However, it does not appropriately meet the needs of a large portion of business professionals. Additionally, a great many regular consumers have been enchanted by SLED 10’s ease of use and high degree of stability, but are disappointed with the home desktop software selection. This guide will show you how to install or upgrade the Java Development Kit, install software from the SUSE Linux 10.1 package repositories, and enable DVD movie playback in SLED 10.

Inesoft Cash Organizer 2005 Premium

At any given time, can you review your financial situation? At the very least, you’d have to carry your checkbook with you, and at most, you’d need Internet access to review your investment portfolio. Many people use programs like Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Money to more easily track their finances, but neither of those programs travel well. Inesoft Cash Organizer ‘05 Premium fills that niche by giving you access to Quicken or Money data on your Pocket PC or Windows Mobile cell phone.

Ubuntu Linux 6.06 review

Ubuntu Linux 6.06 was delayed for several weeks to ensure that it was as good as it could be, then finally released on June 1. This version of Ubuntu was supposed to be “enterprise-ready” as a server and as a desktop, but unless businesses like dealing with multiple hardware issues, a substandard Java environment, and a lack of proprietary Web browser plugins, I can’t see how Ubuntu Linux 6.06 is ready for anything except perhaps a patch release.

Xandros Desktop Home Edition 4.0 review

After suffering through version 1.0 many years ago, I thought Xandros would be the least likely of the commercial desktop GNU/Linux distributions to succeed. Each subsequent release since 1.1 has changed my mind a little bit, and now with version 4.0 of its home desktop edition, I’m at last convinced that Xandros is positioned for success. This should be the desktop operating system that you recommend to your Windows-hating friends and family.

Hacking Xandros Desktop Home 4.0

Xandros Desktop Home Premium Edition is the most complete desktop GNU/Linux distribution on the market today, but it still has a few holes in it. If you want to play commercial DVD movies, use an unsupported wireless network card, watch WMV video clips, or install software that isn’t in Xandros Networks, the default install will not be sufficient. This guide will show you how to add all of these capabilities to your Xandros Desktop Home Edition 4.0 installation.

CentOS 4.3 review

CentOS 4 is built using the same source code as the industry-leading Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, and version 4.3 is commensurate with RHEL 4 update 3. Released in March of this year, CentOS 4.3 contains all previously issued bug fixes and updates. It’s not really a new release so much as it is the old release with all patches applied. This matches Red Hat’s own release cycle, which is designed to make upgrading and updating easier in businesses that require their systems to remain as uniform and predictable as possible. With the fading away of TaoLinux and White Box Linux, CentOS alone fills the huge gap between Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

SUSE Linux 10.1 Review

Novell’s SUSE Linux operating system has consistently gained momentum for years. Since I started reviewing it at version 8.1, I’ve found each new release to have more options, better autoconfiguration, and expanded hardware support, all while maintaining a high level of stability. But after having extensively tested SUSE Linux 10.1 for x86 and AMD64, I must say that the positive trend has faltered, and my expectations were not met with this release. While some things are clearly improved in 10.1, others have taken a step backward.

Hacking SUSE Linux 10.1

When you’re done installing SUSE Linux 10.1 OSS, your desktop system is not complete. You might still need support for Java programs, Adobe Flash animations, PDFs, and RealPlayer and Windows Media Video files. You may also want to add support for playing DVD videos on your computer, and to try out the new XGL graphical toys. Here’s how to effectively make SUSE Linux 10.1 into the perfect desktop OS.

SPB AirIslands review

Pocket PC Games have a strong tendency to be simple and repetitive. That doesn’t mean they aren’t fun, but isn’t it nice to be engrossed in a good strategy game once in a while? Pair that with three great arcade games and you have a spectacular little entertainment package for your Windows Mobile handheld device.

FreeBSD 6.1 review

After a disastrous 5.X series, FreeBSD’s reputation for quality was mostly restored with version 6.0. Here we are at the first release milestone past that — 6.1 — and the good news is, it continues the upward trend. The (somewhat) bad news is, despite many little improvements, it’s still not perfect.

Corel WordPerfect Office X3 review

WordPerfect’s history is rife with victories, but none of them are recent. It’s a long, sad story, and the possibility of a happy ending diminishes with each new release. What was once the world’s best word processor has become an “office suite” that has seen little innovation over the past three releases, coupled with the fact that its price tag is increasingly difficult to justify in the face of free software office suites like OpenOffice.org and less expensive word processors like TextMaker. WordPerfect Office X3 is still a great office suite, but this release has added virtually nothing of substance to the previous version, and now more than ever, there’s a good chance that your desktop software needs can be met for less money and fewer licensing restrictions.

OpenBSD 3.9 review

I skipped writing a review of OpenBSD 3.8 last fall because I was worried that I’d sound like a broken record. Every OpenBSD release is the same: a big pile of small yet significant changes, new tools, and expanded hardware support (especially where it concerns network devices). For as long as I’ve been doing OpenBSD reviews — two and a half years now — this pattern has remained unchanged. OpenBSD 3.9 is more of the same, with the sole exception that this release’s enhancements affect desktop users more than in the past few releases.

Using OpenBSD 3.9

Many people responded to the call for OpenBSD and OpenSSH donations by purchasing an OpenBSD CD set. Those CDs are beginning to arrive in the mail, and when they do, how are you going to use them? If you’re a software enthusiast who has never used OpenBSD before, you might enjoy installing it by yourself and figuring it out as you go. If, however, you’re looking for a more practical approach to using OpenBSD as a desktop or server operating system, here’s a guide to get you started.

SPB Diary review

Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system has many shortcomings, many of which can be solved with add-on software. SPB Software House’s Diary program makes all of your most important information — tasks, email messages, calendar, and notes — visible directly on your start page. After two weeks of using SPB Diary, I’ve come to regard it as a necessity for Pocket PCs.

Moving Windows fonts to Linux

Fonts are often overlooked when switching or reinstalling operating systems, and when they’re gone, it’s a real hassle to try to get the right ones back again. You can spend hours or days trying to figure out where your favorite anti-aliased serif font came from and how to get it back onto your system, and for some people, not having Windows fonts in GNU/Linux is a dealbreaker. So here’s how to back up your fonts and install them into GNU/Linux.

Gentoo Linux 2006.0 review

It’s been a while since I last reviewed Gentoo Linux because there haven’t been too many significant changes in the past few releases. I’ve been using it as my primary desktop operating system for a year and a half, though, and I’ve been running my main Web/email/database server on it since October of 2004. There’s a reason why I’ve stayed with it that long, both as a desktop and server OS — and there’s also a reason why I’m writing a review of the 2006.0 release after a long hiatus from Gentoo reviews.

How to secure your blog or Web site

Weblogs are being attacked, compromised, and defaced. This sort of thing has been happening for years to other kinds of Web sites, but the attacks seem to be more frequent these days, especially in the wake of the blogger grassroots effort to mirror the Mohammed cartoons. It’s not that software has become less secure, and it’s probably not because potential attackers have increased in number. No, the reason that attacks are more prevalent is likely because many bloggers don’t know how to secure their own Web sites. Here are several in-depth tips to help independent journalists protect themselves from the barbarians who would silence them.

Moving email from Windows to Linux

Moving from Windows to GNU/Linux and need to take your saved email with you? Here’s how you can do it.

Linspire and Versora make Windows migration easy

I first demoed Versora Progression Desktop at LinuxWorld Boston in February of 2005, and was impressed by what it could do. Basically it takes all of your essential data and program settings (and even some decidedly nonessential settings) and transfers them to GNU/Linux. I hadn’t heard much from the company since then — until Linspire announced a partnership with them recently. The deal is, Progression Desktop will move you from Windows to Linspire without any hassle. Read on for the full review.

VMware Workstation 5.5 review

Back in November, VMware released version 5.5 of their Workstation virtual machine product. Overall it’s not a big improvement over version 5.0, but might be just the right “next step up” for those still on Workstation 4.x.

The differences between Linux distributions

A lot of people have heard of GNU/Linux (more commonly referred to as just “Linux”) and are having trouble finding out what the differences are between different versions — or distributions — that are available. This article will show how they differ, and how GNU/Linux differs from similar operating systems.

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